Godolphin Mile Hopefuls On Show Today

First is off at 16h00

There are Group race winners galore on an excellent card at Meydan Racecourse this afternoon, where the Listed Dubai Creek Mile is the feature at the seven race National Day meeting.

First run in 2014, the Creek Mile is an early prep for the Gr2 Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night; Heavy Metal having completed that double in the 2017/18 season.

The 1600m event has attracted a field of 12, including Thegreatcollection, who is remarkably running in it for a fifth time. The Doug Watson-trained eight-year-old won it in 2020 and has been third twice, including 12 months ago.

Watson runs three others in the race, including Prince Eiji, the mount of stable jockey Pat Dobbs. The six-year-old began his local career with an excellent short head second to Kafoo a year ago, but failed to build on that, ending his season with a tenth-place finish on the turf.

Golden Goal – back after a top last season

Stablemate Golden Goal had his best season in 2021/22, winning the Gr2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 in January, while Everfast is effective fresh, having won on his local debut on this card last year, before two excellent placed efforts in Group company.

“All four seem in good form for the Mile, says Watson. “It was a tough choice for Pat [Dobbs] between Prince Eiji, Golden Goal and Everfast. The draw of 11 probably took Everfast out of the running and Golden Goal has a 2kg penalty from winning Maktoum Challenge Round 2 last year. Eiji really works well and the summer off has really helped strengthen him up.”

A superb field includes the popular Gr2 winner Military Law, who returns after 18 months off for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri, while another intriguing horse is Atletico El Culano, a first runner in his own name for trainer Julio Olascoaga. The six-year-old was the winner of the biggest race in his native Uruguay, the Gr1 Gran Premio Jose Pedro Ramirez, in 2021 and makes his Meydan debut under jockey Jose da Silva.

“Atletico El Culano arrived from Uruguay six weeks ago,” said Olascoaga. “He has been working well and adapting to the new environment. We expect a good prep run, but that he might need it, ahead of targets at the Carnival.”

Olascoaga also runs Perfect Love in the Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah Joint Aviation Command Rated Conditions Event, race six. The three-year-old contest takes place over a mile and also sees the return of last season’s G3 UAE 2000 Guineas winner Azure Coast. Successful in Moscow over 2000metres when last in action in September, the Pavel Vashchenko-trained colt will be ridden by Myrzabek Kappushev, who has his fourth ride at the track.

The classy field of eight also sees the seasonal debut of Bendoog, who finished ahead of Azure Coast when fourth in the Gr2 UAE Derby last time. He will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Bhupat Seemar and the 10-time UAE Champion is looking forward to renewing the association.

“I didn’t think it was possible he could grow any more, but he’s huge!” said the rider of the massive son of Gun Runner. “He’s definitely the biggest horse in the barn, but he’s training well and ready to start.”

Watson sends out Taking Names, who has had the benefit of a run, having faded into fourth here over 1900metres two weeks ago.

“Taking Names came out of his first race well and is getting some good weight from those higher rated horses, so we are hopeful,” said the trainer.

There are two juvenile maidens on the card, the second of which, Sharjah sponsored by Air Force and Air Defence Command, is for colts over 1200m.

Eight run, including Nyaar, second over course and distance on his debut last time, who carries high hopes from the Watson team. “Nyaar is a neat little horse who has done really well since his first run, so we expect him to go well”, he said.

The card begins at 16h00 with the 1200m older horse Abu Dhabi Maiden. Colour Up, second last time, goes for Watson, who said: “Colour Up seems like a horse who could go places,” while the consistent Lake Causeway, placed 10 times in 17 starts for Seemar, is another to consider.

Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass, who now operates out of Grandstand Stables, has his first runner of the season when Madkhal lines up in race four, the Ajman Handicap [Sponsored by Presidential Guard Campaign] over 1200m. A winner when last seen in March, the six-year-old must give weight to a solid bunch of rivals, including Ranaan, a winner over course and distance two weeks ago, and Yojaari, successful over this trip at Jebel Ali a month ago.

  • The first of seven races is off at 16h00.

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